A Game of Chess, this Life.



The first photo is another etching I did while gaining a certificate in printmaking. This included also a term in life-drawing at Tech. I remember a male model who I and other students observed, while feverishly drawing the charcoal over the butcher paper, he had something silvery glistening in the general lower region of his matrimonial device. It turned out after a discussion with all the students during a break, we all agreed he must have had the urge to decorate same with not just one but two rings. Two rings! All to our own. But who would see this jewellery? I suppose he would not be walking around George Street with his jeans on.

The next photo is me and brother Frank being tubbed by my mother. It would have been around 1942 when Rotterdam had been bombed but we still had a roof over our head. Dad would provide light during the evening by riding his bike in kitchen while on a stand. The dynamo (Generator) on the rear wheel would give electricity to the bicycle light which was trained on my mother’s kerosene pump up single cooker. I am the one with my hair sticking up looking a bit bewildered already.

My mum is smartly dressed and looks fully absorbed in bathing her two boys with love and joy. Later on that same galvanised steel tub was where all five of us boys would tub in after we moved to The Hague. One at the time. Frank first and then me and so on. The last one probably came out worst. The water cold and a bit less than pristine with a good chance of him still remaining in a dubious state of cleanliness.


This etching above is on the Ford hook Silverbeet. I don’t remember anymore the urgent creative need for getting into vegetables etchings. Perhaps latent memories of the war or hunger! I was also practising reverse writing which you have to do when printing as one gets the reverse of what you scribed on the copper plate. Can be tricky. Have you ever read the direction on those punnets of vegetables or flowering annuals? They are sometimes very authoritarian with the dedication of someone having sat in a cave for many years and returned to the big city only to find out no one missed him.

Here proof of the trickiness of doing things in reverse. The writing is alright but the chess board shows a black square on the right where a white one should have featured. I once won a chess championship on board between Europe and Sydney. It was on our honeymoon after our marriage in Finland and we were lucky to be put on a first class ticket when the original boat we were booked caught fire. Looking back, one wonders why one got involved in a chess competition during a honeymoon as if there weren’t more and better things to do. Well, that’s true. Perhaps the title of the chess game gives a hint. English classes to Greek migrants was also something that was engaged in. The trip was terrific, we danced and drank Italian Suave.


This last etching is one I just gleaned from FB and had forgotten about it. I think my good friend Lonia must have that one. Perhaps? It seems to have a distinct Greek theme. I’ll let you readers figure it all out.
Thank you for your patience so far.

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5 Responses to “A Game of Chess, this Life.”

  1. berlioz Says:

    Life is a string of surprises. Thanks for sharing your personal history.


  2. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    You have given a warm and happy beginning to my day. Loved the etchings!


  3. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Wonderful mixture of art and life. I, too, remember interesting models at Art College. I love the sight of you and your brother in the tub, you do look rather like baby birds just emerging from the egg and rather appalled by the world in which you find yourselves.


  4. chris hunter Says:

    Great photo of you and Frank. Nice art works too!


  5. auntyuta Says:

    First class voyage from Europe to Sydney. How wonderful! 🙂


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